The Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, made an appearance on Sky News this morning to defend the Brexit deal unveiled by the Prime Minister yesterday day.
During the interview, Cleverly criticised Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s negotiation skills, saying that he “doesn’t know how to negotiate” when asked about Starmer’s comment that the deal was “just a compromise.”
Cleverly stated that it was a “very good deal” and highlighted the benefits it would bring to Northern Ireland, such as the ability to enjoy UK tax rates and the end of almost all checks.
Despite this, there is still uncertainty about whether the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) will support the deal.
When asked nine times by Kay Burley whether they could “scupper the deal,” Cleverly refused to answer. He stated that he wanted to give the Unionists time to “consider the details.”
When Burley questioned whether the DUP was not as powerful as before, Cleverly responded, “I think your second question gives it away when you ask if they are not as powerful anymore.”
Later in the day, Cleverly spoke to Times Radio and said that there had been extensive engagement with different communities in Northern Ireland during the negotiation process.
He emphasised that the voices of both communities, businesses, and elected representatives in Northern Ireland were taken seriously, and the seven tests from the DUP were considered when putting together the proposals.
Cleverly expressed confidence that the deal addressed important issues and protected Northern Ireland’s place within the UK.
He stressed that goods traveling within the UK, from GB to Northern Ireland, could do so effortlessly, and that tax treatments decided by the UK Government applied to the whole of the UK.
Cleverly also emphasised the importance of ensuring that the people of Northern Ireland and their elected representatives had a say in the rules that affected them.
Through the Stormont brake, he stated that this had been achieved.